With his one good arm the decaying man hoisted himself up from his slumber.
“O Come all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant…” the humble choir sang.
A sparkle now seemed to fall upon his eyes. This dying man was looking upon a victory march. Perhaps his own.
“O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.” Young and old passed by his room. Some too young to know what they were singing. Others so beaten down and distracted by the cares of the world that they’re only singing from memory, not taking in the full effect of this parade. Yet, some are truly belting out the victory of Christmas.
The sounds of adoration now fade down the halls. The old man turns his feeble ear to hear the fading sounds of Christmas victory. The parade continues marching down the corridor proclaiming the joys of Christ to others enduring the curse. Reaching the end of the hall, the choir marches back towards his room as they begin a new song.
“Joy to the world…”
What a silly, and even offensive, song to sing to dying men if the gospel isn’t true. This isn’t a birthday song. This is a victory cry. The curse is being lifted. The long awaited King has come and joy is the only fitting response. Yes, such far-reaching joy would be silly to proclaim to those that are daily assaulted by the atrophy of their bodies. Unless of course the gospel is true. Then, it’s not silly at all, it’s altogether necessary.
The choir now passes by the old man’s room again. “He comes to make His blessings flow, Far as the curse is found, far as the curse is found, Far as, far as, the curse is found…”
He feels that curse every day. But tonight he feels something different. Tonight, he feels the victory of Christmas. He will still die. Maybe days from now. Maybe months. He might even hang on for a year or two, but eventually the curse will overtake him. Yet, if he is found in Christ, the curse will not consume him. Death has lost its sting. Death isn’t King, Jesus is.
We still live on the fallen side of a Redeemed Eden and so we still mourn and we still sing things like “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”. We long for just to make things fully right. Yet because of the victory of Christmas and the Cross we march down the halls of this nursing home proclaiming the triumph of Christ over the curse.
Singing Christmas carols in this nursing home we are proclaiming both the promise and fulfillment of Isaiah 9. The light has come…but we still await the greater fulfillment. He sits on his throne, it is already established…but we await the fullness of this promise. He rules with justice and righteousness and yet we are still longing for full justice to be performed.
What we are saying when we proclaim Jesus as the fulfillment of Isaiah 9 is that our Rescuer has already come. We don’t look to kings or princes or social policies to find peace and rescue. We know that these ultimately come from the victory that Christ has already won. The King is already on His rightful throne. Even though we still the remnants and the scattered wreckage of the fall—we believe that Jesus is still in charge and some day will completely reconcile all things to Himself.
When Simeon held baby Jesus in his arms he shouted victory. The Rescuer promised in Isaiah 9 was actually here. We do the same thing when we sing Christmas songs. We are proclaiming the victory of the King of kings and the Lord of lords.
Today’s post is by Mike Leake. Mike is the Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church Marionville, Missouri, the author of Torn to Heal: God’s Good Purpose in Suffering, and blogger at Borrowed Light. An earlier version of this article first appeared on Mike’s blog.